Make your data the driving force behind your business decisions

Make your data the driving force behind your business decisions

Data is moving higher up the business agenda as organisations are starting to recognise its true value. 

Reliable data drives your business initiatives and can give you the competitive advantage other companies are lacking. 

Before we take a look at some of the benefits gained from having good quality data within your business, let’s first take a look at some of the typical challenges faced with managing data, especially when there are multiple, complex Information Systems to maintain and numerous customer records to keep clean and organised.

Typical Challenges

Poor customer experience

When sensitive client information is inconsistent or duplicated across multiple internal systems a number of challenges can occur. These include billing and delivery errors, communication problems and a tainted customer experience, all of which can have an impact on whether the client will become a long term customer and whether they will recommend the company to others in the future.

Loss of revenue

When incorrect or incomplete data is held within an organisation there is a huge potential for loss of revenue and marketing opportunities. Special offers and promotions might not reach the intended recipient, the information stored regarding a client’s preferences and product interests might be out of date resulting in untargeted mailings and deliveries may be sent to the wrong address wasting time, effort and money remedying the situation

Inability to make informed strategic decisions

If only the bare minimal information or that which is deemed compulsory is provided in an Information System, business leaders may find they are unable to make informed strategic decisions to move the business forward as they lack valuable insight into their client’s behaviour, spending patterns or demographics.

Regulatory compliance issues

Poorly stored data carries significant regulatory risk and increases the possibilities of penalties and fines being imposed. If data is not held correctly then companies cannot be confident that they are compliant with industry and government legislation and could be breaching national security measures in place.

Managing data within multiple systems

Keeping information consistent is particularly challenging when there are multiple complex systems within the company. It is an arduous task checking and comparing information that is located in multiple sources, as if strict procedures are not in place, data can get messy, unstructured, inaccurate or duplicated. This is often a labour intensive task that can have disastrous consequences if users skip this step when pushed for time.

The facts speak for themselves

Gartner estimates that poor quality data costs an average organisation $13.5 million per year and that overall labour productivity is affected by as much as 20%.

They are also predicting that by 2017 25% of organisations will need to have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in place, directly focused on the increasing pressures of managing data to drive efficiency.

The facts may seem scary but are very real and show how vital data is for business growth.

The benefits of having good quality data

The most successful and forward thinking organisations are aware that having good quality data is the secret to knowing their clients inside out. Enhanced visibility and being able to communicate offers and information that are targeted and of interest to them makes all the difference in terms of customer satisfaction. Customers feel valued and special when they have a personal relationship with their suppliers.

Cost savings are made and revenue and cash flow is improved as deliveries reach the intended recipient, mailings do not get redirected and bills get sent correctly the first time which should make payment terms quicker.

Workers become more efficient as they are not wasting valuable time and effort sorting out data problems when all the relevant information they need is at hand.

Business leaders have accurate, timely information available to them which means they are able to provide better forecasting and operational planning recommendations.

Accurate data means the mounting pressure of complying with industry and government regulations is met and the worry of being fined for not meeting guidelines is lessened.

Solutions for ensuring clean data 

Why can't I just clean my data and be done with it?

There are lots of data processing and cleansing tools and solutions currently on the market designed to clean up your databases using batch run processes. Nice, clean, organised data…..sounds great right? Until 12 months down the line when you run into the same problems as the inaccuracies have continued to creep in as new data enters your system. 

Then what are my options?

Ideally you should put the data quality control and responsibility into the hands of the end users inputting the data. Giving them the opportunity to validate the data at the point of creation ensures optimal data is recorded on entry. Using this method the user becomes the verification, and data can be checked and cleaned before any issues escalate.

Another solution would be to implement a 3rd party tool to provide an intelligent overlay on top of your application to guide and support users through business processes during data entry. Such systems act as a helping hand to ensure that the right fields are filled in correctly to meet regulatory guidelines and as an advisor on data quality improvement, providing recommendations and logical validation prompts.

With such a system in place, business level rules can be pushed via notifications to the user to check the data entered is accurate, logical and complete. Tips and additional information like news and communications can be added in context to inform the user about any changes to data options or proces steps. These things all enable you to guide and support your users.

Users would also have the capability to double check data across co-existing systems in context. Co-existing systems can be brought together onto one screen so that all the relevant information is presented to the user in one place. This means there is no need to keep going in and out of various applications to validate data, saving time and simplifying the process.

 

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Make your data the driving force behind your business decisions

Good quality data enhances the customer experience, drives business decisions and provides fruitful revenue opportunities.

Companies that invest in their data, and in the continual process of data maintenance will benefit from tangible results and a competitive advantage.

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